Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The DNA Results Are In

I love my purebred Shepherds, Danes, and Rottweilers, but I'm not a breed snob. I love mutts and mixes just as well and they are generally healthier and have a better temperament. Maya is obviously a mixed breed dog and it's just as obvious that she's part shepherd, but what else?

As a birthday present to me from Clay's mother, we had Maya's DNA analyzed. We went to the vet to draw the blood sample a few weeks back and last night I got an email with the results. It was about what I would have expected, but there were some surprises too.

She's got a strong element of German Shepherd Dog coming from both parental lines. That comes as no surprise. There is also some Husky, Malamute, and Labrador in the mix. Her blond color probably comes from a pretty yellow lab. Her white underbody and legs probably come from Malamute genes. Her stubborn personality is characteristic of both Huskies and Malamutes.

The other major component, coming down to her on both sides, is just identified as "mixed breed." However, they break down the mixed breed into group types, such as terriers, sporting, herding, etc. The most predominant element of this group of genes was identified as coming from "wild canids." That would be undomesticated species such as coyotes and wolves. I had to laugh because this does seem to describe certain characteristics of Maya. In the beginning she certainly seemed barely domesticated. Even now she's distrustful of people unless I approve them. She has always demonstrated a definite aversion to being contained and has no respect for fences. She is and always was my wild child.

The cost of Maya's DNA test was higher than what it cost to analyze my own through ancestry.com, but it was an interesting experience. She's still daddy's little girl and we didn't need a test for either of us to know that.

Below are some screen shots from the report.

The text isn't very clear, but it says that Maya is genetically composed of the following breeds:
German Shepherd Dog, Alaskan Malamute, Labrador Retriever, Siberian Husky, and Mixed Breed.
This page identified Wild Canids as the major component of the "Mixed Breed."
Examples given are Coyote and Gray Wolf

This page identified the likely breed mixes of Maya's parents, grandparents, and
great grandparents. It shows Husky and Lab on one side, Malamute on the other,
Shepherds on both sides and the Mixed Breed consisting mainly of wild canids on both sides.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Sunday walks

Sunday started out pretty decent so I started my series of walks in the morning. I took Maya and Hunter for about two miles, followed by Maya and Indigo for another two, then Maya and Rugger for two more. We were walking the same route, just up and down the mostly gravel roadway through the park. I figured that Maya had had enough of that so I left her at home for the final walk, which I did with just Theo. It was getting hot by that time, but he was fresh so we went three miles bringing my total for the day up to nine miles.

The two mile segments with driving breaks and water in between worked well. Walking the Danes separately was good for them both. Rugger always likes to go and I haven't been walking Theo very often so it was good to get him out. It was just too hot for TJ, Trooper, or Sparky, they stayed home and didn't seem disappointed by it. I should have done one more with Max, maybe next time.

Hunter has pretty eyes.

Indigo is a very pretty girl.

Rugger loves our walks.

Theo the Great
That's Theo with an off leash, long-haired
shepherd (Belgian?), one of two who surprised
us and joined us in the water. Everyone was
too hot and tired to do anything but chill.

Near the end of our three miles, walking past the house back to the van
that was parked near the pole barn.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A different perspective on the day

I took Rugger up to northern Virginia to an adoption event with Promises Animal Rescue on Saturday. It's a two hour drive each way for a 2-3 hour event, so it really used up about all of the day. I had been planning to meet an applicant who was interested in Rugger, but they didn't make it. I came home feeling rather defeated and feeling like I had wasted the day.

But as I was writing this, I went through my pictures from the day and saw it from Rugger's perspective rather than my own. He doesn't know that he doesn't have a home and he certainly doesn't know that he had no more prospects at the end of the day. What he had was a long day with me, one-on-one, without even Maya pushing her way in between us. He was surrounded by lots of people who loved on him and fed him treats all the time we were there. He showed off his repertoire of tricks: sit, down, shake, and speak, which got him even more treats. He went shopping up and down the aisles of Petsmart, where they put everything interesting to a dog just at nose level for him to see, sniff, and try out. He picked out a flying disc and convinced me that he knew what to do with it, so I bought it for him and brought it home. He met a lot of other dogs and was ok with them all, although he clearly prefers human attention. 
When we got home we played with the new flying disc and I'm convinced that Rugger was a frisbee dog at some point in his life. 

Rugger had the same day that I did, but Rugger's day was obviously better than mine. Clearly, I need to strive to be more like Rugger. All people would be better people, and happier, if we were more dog-like.

We had a visit from Krypto, one of
former fosters.  
I had Krypto as a puppy and nursed
him through a bout with parvo. 

Rugger back at home playing with his new flying disc. It is
open in the center and is coated in ribbed rubber, making it
easy for a dog to catch and to pick up compared to a frisbee.

If Rugger has a "release" command, I haven't
figured out what it is.

I need to learn to throw it so he can catch it. He came close
a couple times and he clearly wants to and tries to catch it.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Rugger's Day

I'm taking Rugger to an adoption event on Saturday, so Friday he got another round of skin treatments, i.e., a bath. He's smelling better. I can no longer smell him from 20 feet away, but in close quarters you can still smell that yeast on him. It was certainly warm enough for an outdoor bath today, and he loves playing with the hose, so bathtime is not really a big deal. I put the first shampoo on and then did some mowing, leaving it to sit on his skin and work its magic for a good 15-20 minutes. Then I did the same with the second shampoo and after I finished mowing I gave him a final rinse.

I took Rugger and Maya out in the evening for three miles at Pleasant Grove. He's a really easy dog on a leash. He spotted some deer but didn't freak out about them. I think Maya was a bit embarrassed because he spotted them first even though she's the big deer hunter.

Rugger needs and deserves a great home. I have never seen a dog work so hard to be mine. He's incredibly loyal, wants to be where I am, do what I'm doing. I have never had a concern about this dog taking off. His house manners are impeccable. He just needs someone willing to deal with the skin/allergy problem, probably on an on-going basis. I can't promise that there's a complete cure, but it can be managed and this dog is well worth it.